- U.S. FEC and IAAPAPublished: 17 December, 2012
Family Entertainment Centers (FEC) operators who responded to recent surveys claim to have averaged $2.67M in gross revenues in 2011; outdoor only facilities totaled $467,571. An average of more than half-57%-said that 2011 was more profitable than 2010, but the larger facilities enjoyed greater revenues and profits.
- Fresh leadership at AMOAPublished: 31 October, 2012
The Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA) has announced its new leadership. In a slight variation from the norm, the incoming president will be distributor John Pascaretti of Pascaretti Enterprises of Warren, Michigan.
- Delaware makes e-gaming historyPublished: 17 August, 2012
The slow, but now seemingly certain, progression of the U.S. casino sector toward legalised online gambling took two important steps forward this summer, writes Barnaby Page.
To start with, Bally Technologies and International Game Technology (IGT) became the first companies licensed to supply interactive gaming technology and services to operators in Nevada, a signal that the state’s commitment to allowing online poker is real.
- Casino threat to operatorsPublished: 09 July, 2012
In another possible blow to Illinois operators, the state’s House of Representatives has passed a gambling expansion bill that would create new casinos at the state’s racetracks and in five cities. Slots would be permitted at airports and state fairgrounds.
Governor Pat Quinn rejected the issue this year, preferring to focus on restructuring the state’s Medicaid and pensions programmes.
- Self-service payoutsPublished: 09 July, 2012
By a unanimous vote, the Illinois Gaming Board has passed immediate legislation that permits self-service payout kiosk options like PayoutPlus for video gaming. Board members approved the emergency rule change, which allows customers to redeem their tickets from an automated device, to bypass the previous requirement that winning tickets had to be redeemed by an authorised person at a licensed site.
- Portable bingoPublished: 09 July, 2012
Minnesota has legalised electronic pull-tab and bingo games that run on portable devices. The networked gaming legislation takes effect on 1 July and authorises these handheld games for limited operation in Minnesota’s bars, restaurants and bingo parlours.
Before its start, both the Minneapolis city council and 24 of the 32 National Football League (NFL) teams must approve.
- “Child gambling” lawsuit settledPublished: 09 July, 2012
In a case with potential national ramifications, the pizza-and-games chain Chuck E. Cheese’s (CEC) has quietly settled a class action lawsuit brought against it by a California mother in 2011. In Keller vs Chuck E. Cheese’s, San Diego resident Denise Keller sued the firm for $5m, claiming that its games are a form of gambling for children.
- New policies on IPPublished: 11 June, 2012
New policies from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) will take effect on 1 June. These guidelines aim to protect members’ copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property.
IAAPA aims to establish immediate on-site arbitration options for resolving disputes over displays at the association’s trade shows and in its publications. Upon an arbitration ruling that an infringement has occurred, the offender’s association membership can be terminated.
- An arcade in your handsPublished: 11 June, 2012
You once had to patronise the arcade or game room to play your favorite pinball or video game. Now, modern technology and Warner Bros. will allow you create your own “ultimate game room”. The new Midway Arcade recreates the classic game parlours of the past on an iPhone or iPad.
Its configuration resembles Chuck E. Cheese’s or similar gaming centres. Several games are on free play, including Defender (a space shooter), Root Beer Tapper (offering drinks to customers) and Spy Hunter, which destroys enemy cars.
- Darts in VegasPublished: 11 June, 2012
For the 27th year, the Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) and National Dart Association (NDA) held a successful international soft-tip dart tournament. This year’s event took place at Bally’s in Las Vegas on 13-21 April. Representing six countries, more than 12,000 international entrants competed for over $500,000 in prize money.
- AMI splits in twoPublished: 11 June, 2012
AMI Entertainment has announced that it will create two distinct company divisions this year. The Music Division will handle music and TV products out of a reopened Grand Rapids, Michigan office, while the Megatouch Division, headquartered in Bristol, Pennsylvania, will deal with games and bill changers.
- VLTs: good news and badPublished: 11 June, 2012
Average daily revenues for South Dakota video lottery terminals (VLTs) jumped almost 30 percent after slot-style line-up games were added to the traditional poker, blackjack and keno menu. The South Dakota Lottery Commission approved the games in 2011; they went online in December 2011. There are currently more than 1000 new-style VLTs and about 8000 legacy machines.
- Looking up?Published: 03 May, 2012
Operators demonstrated confidence that the overall U.S. economy may be improving slightly at this year’s 2012 Amusement Expo in Las Vegas.
Show statistics indicated a five percent increase in attendance over last year. Among both attendees and exhibitors, there was also a greater optimism about the future of their businesses than in 2011.
- Ecast rescuePublished: 03 May, 2012
AMI Entertainment Network and East Coast Amusements have united to strengthen the service that East Coast has offered to operators of Ecast digital downloading jukeboxes. Ecast terminated operations last month after 11 years in business, laying off 55 employees.
The alliance confirms AMI’s support for Ecast operators. AMI recently arranged to maintain much of the Ecast network and its Ecast Central secure Website.
- Small is beautiful for AMOAPublished: 03 May, 2012
The Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) has amended its bylaws to reduce its board of directors from 30 to 19, excluding officers, starting next year. The association attempted this reduction 15 years ago under former AMOA president Randy Chilton, but AMOA’s past presidents rejected it. There had also been an attempt to introduce manufacturer membership on the board.
- Video games in the galleryPublished: 03 May, 2012
The independent National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which supports artists and arts organisations, will classify video games as an art form in fiscal 2012. Taxpayer funding, typically between $10,000 and $200,000, will be granted to a project next year.
The new NEA criteria have expanded The Arts in Media as a grant category, replacing Arts on Radio and Television.
- WMS looks to e-gamingPublished: 03 May, 2012
WMS Industries, the Chicago manufacturing firm that transformed itself from a pinball/video factory to a maker of licensed gaming machines, is turning its sights on gaming’s newest potential market – the Internet.
It recently applied for an interactive gaming licence with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. Internet gaming remains illegal throughout all 50 American states, but several states with legalised casino gaming are permitting companies to present their paperwork in anticipation of online gaming, in particular poker.
- Legislators look at raising venues’ VLT allowancePublished: 08 March, 2012
Suffering the lowest video lottery terminal (VLT) revenues last year since 1995, at $95m, South Dakota legislators may vote to raise the number of machines permitted at each location from the current ten to 14.
Many operators blame the South Dakota smoking ban, which took effect in late 2010. VLT revenues have since fallen by between 17 and 35 percent.
- Fate of the dollar coin polarises WashingtonPublished: 08 March, 2012
Once again, the dollar coin issue has polarised opinion in the federal government.
The Obama administration has recently imposed a policy change to terminate the production of dollar coins, except in small quantities for collectors. But for more than 20 years, the amusement and other coin-related industries have jointly pushed for the complete elimination of the dollar bill, which they would like to see replaced by the permanent use of dollar coins.
- Operators ponder the lawPublished: 08 March, 2012
Members of the Council of Affiliated States of the Amusement & Music Operators Association have met to discuss several increasingly complex issues impacting both the gaming and amusement industries.
- New import restrictions?Published: 07 March, 2012
In his 24 January State of the Union speech, President Obama announced a new trade enforcement unit to be developed. Depending on how far-reaching its responsibilities are, this new agency could impact crane machine and bulk vending supply chains.
- E-gaming barrier is liftedPublished: 25 January, 2012
The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided that the 1961 federal Wire Act only applies to sports-related gambling. This is huge news for the potentially lucrative state-sanctioned online gaming industry. It could pave the path for agreements between legal gaming states or internationally, claims renowned gambling legal expert I. Nelson Rose.
- Illinois contract for Sci. GamesPublished: 25 January, 2012
According to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Illinois state officials recently awarded a six-year contract to Scientific Games (SG) to administer the state’s video gaming central system once the programme is up and running. The paper projected that games will be installed in locations by the end of 2012 at the latest.
The agreement could be worth more than $69m for the New York-based company. At the end of the term, the contract could be renewed for an additional four years.
- AAMA, AMOA to hold Amusement Expo in MarchPublished: 25 January, 2012
The preliminary schedule for the 2012 Amusement Expo has been released. The dates for this year’s convention, o-sponsored by the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) and the Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA), are 14-16 March. It will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and once again run alongside the National Bulk Vendors Association (NBVA) Expo.
- Attractions leaders invited to LA conferencePublished: 25 January, 2012
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Leadership Conference will take place in Los Angeles on 22-24 February. The conference will focus on networking and offer practical learning at several Los Angeles amusement parks and attractions.
Registration is open and a discounted early-bird rate is available until 27 January. For more information and to register, visit www.iaapa.org.
- Recovery for U.S. restaurant businessPublished: 25 January, 2012
The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) recently hit its highest ranking in five months. The monthly RPI is a composite index of the U.S. restaurant industry, analysing its condition and outlook. Its 100.6 level in November – the second above-100 ranking in three months – was up 0.6 percent from October.
- Threat to dollar coinPublished: 25 January, 2012
The American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) is paying close attention to the Dollar Coin Alliance. The National Bulk Vendors Association and other important industries using coin payments have joined forces to stop Congress from discontinuing production of the high-denomination coins, and to promote an increase in their circulation.
- “Biz op” crackdownPublished: 25 January, 2012
One problem that has been facing operators for years is the lack of quality, verifiable information about advertised business opportunities. Long referred to as “biz ops”, unregulated promises have financially ruined millions of aspiring businesspeople.
In Washington, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has revised its Business Opportunity Rule, with the new version going into effect on 1 March 2012. The changes aim to ensure that consumers have the necessary information to evaluate work-at-home programmes or other business opportunities.
- What do we earn?Published: 03 January, 2012
The Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) recently released the results of its first comprehensive member survey in more than ten years. Conducted in the spring, the poll invited the organisation’s 1400 members to participate via SurveyMonkey, an online tool. More than 70 operators in 26 states responded, and most answered the 61 questions.
The results suggest that the typical operator is independently-minded and in their forties or fifties, with some college education. They typically employ fewer than ten people. Member operators prefer to deal with smaller local banks and make their own travel reservations. It is an ageing business, and more than 93 percent of respondents are over 40. Almost a third are over 60.
- Green campaignPublished: 03 January, 2012
Conservation and the coin-op industry are successfully blending, thanks to MEI’s Recycle for Recyclers promotional programme for American operators. Operators who traded in any brand of bill validator – whether functional or non-working – when buying MEI’s new CashFlow VNR recycler earned a rebate credit.
The environmental campaign resulted in the recycling of more than 2796 pounds of electronic equipment. It was all disassembled and then recycled by partner Intercon Solutions of Illinois.
- New jukebox ratesPublished: 03 January, 2012
The Jukebox License Office (JLO) has released its 2012 AMOA jukebox licensing rates. The first jukebox will cost $454; the second’s fee will be $105; the third will be priced at $77. For more information, visit www.jukeboxlicense.com.
- From coin-ops to Apple: industry remembers JobsPublished: 03 January, 2012
As the world continues to mourn the early death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the amusements industry can be proud of its place in his life. Jobs began his career in the coin-op video game industry when he belonged toCalifornia’s Palo Alto Home Brew Computer Club in the 1970s. Along with Steve Wozniak, Jobs introduced the first Apple computer. At the time, he had been working on Atari’s Breakout video game.
- More delays for VLTsPublished: 03 January, 2012
Once again,Illinoisoperators are caught in the middle of legislative brinksmanship. Waiting for two years to start operating within the 2009 Video Game Act (VGA), they have been plagued by delays and changes.
Companies have already been approved to operate, distribute and manufacture games withinIllinois. But now, once again, Governor Pat Quinn is pressing for possible regulatory modifications.
- Court victory on VLT locationsPublished: 29 November, 2011
Video lottery terminal (VLT) operators in South Dakota, one of the jurisdictions where the games have been legalised longest, are celebrating good news from the state’s supreme court. They may now operate virtually anywhere the state allows, and cannot be excluded by local authorities, although they are restricted to liquor-licensed locations.
- Georgia crackdownPublished: 28 September, 2011
Georgia governor Nathan Deal has joined law enforcement and political leaders in announcing a statewide crackdown on sweepstakes video games, which they consider illegal. They estimate that up to 100 Internet cafes in Georgia offer sweepstakes video games, and Deal is concerned about the rapid growth of this market.
- Pinball at Best BuyPublished: 28 September, 2011
Can’t find a pinball machine at your local tavern or arcade? It’s no longer a problem. Stern Pinball, the last of the great pinball manufacturers and the world’s leading producer, announced that Best Buy will now sell flipper games. As one of the leading electronics retailers in the U.S., Best Buy has a huge distribution presence across America.
- First Illinois licencesPublished: 28 September, 2011
Following the legal decisions to allow the 2009 Video Gaming Act (VGA) to move forward, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has begun to issue its first state manufacturing and distribution licences. Several venerable amusement Chicago-area manufacturers and distributors have applied for them, with plans to build or sell video lottery terminals as the new VLT market unfolds. Some have already received word that their applications have been accepted.
- 20 years togetherPublished: 28 September, 2011
The American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA), the national American trade association representing game makers, suppliers and distributors, celebrated the organisation’s 20th anniversary at its eighth annual distributor gala in August outside Chicago. The association’s membership previewed more than two dozen new products.
- Brunswick aims youngPublished: 28 September, 2011
Brunswick Bowling in the U.S. is aiming at “younger and edgier” bowlers with its new DV8 ball range, marketed under the slogan “Damn Good Bowling”. The four-ball product line has “more cockiness to the attitude, and more aggressive punch to the actual performance”, said Brunswick president Brent Perrier.
- Get-together in PhoenixPublished: 26 July, 2011
The Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA) will hold its 2012 Council of Affiliated States meeting 9-11 February next year in Phoenix, Arizona. The annual seminar brings together state association execs and directors. These sessions encourage the sharing of information regarding lobbying efforts that promote and protect the interests of amusement industry and operators’ businesses nationwide.
- Illinois VLTs: the saga continuesPublished: 26 July, 2011
The ever-changing battle for video lottery terminals (VLTs) in Illinois continues. The state’s house of representatives voted for a proposed law known as SB 744, which allows five new casinos within the state, including one in downtown Chicago, and others at racetracks and at O’Hare International Airport. Estimates of $1.5bn in licensing fees for this year, and a minimum of $500m in annual new tax revenues, are expected to help rescue the disastrous Illinois economy.
- Arcade raidsPublished: 26 July, 2011
In several parts of the U.S., sweepstakes video games are confronting law-enforcement challenges. State officials are citing violations of various gambling laws within their jurisdictions. In mid-June, for example, Ohio Investigative Bureau agents and local police in Bowling Green raided an Internet cafe, seizing sweepstakes video games.
- Automation blamed for job lossesPublished: 26 July, 2011
Could ATMs and kiosk-type ticket vending machines be partially responsible for the 9.1 percent unemployment rate plaguing the U.S.? President Barack Obama seems to think so. During a television interview on 13 June, the journalist asked Obama why he could not convince corporate America to hire more employees, despite record profits.
- NIMBY...Published: 15 June, 2011
Marshfield, Massachusetts is back where it began 28 years ago. The small town was the first to attempt enforcement of an arcade ban in the early 1980s. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the town’s favour then, and local voters have upheld the ordinance ever since.
- Games as artPublished: 15 June, 2011
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington DC, an independent federal agency supporting artists and arts organisations, has classified video games as an art form. In seeking grants, the NEA has expanded its guidelines by introducing an Arts in Media category, which replaces the former Arts on Radio and Television classification.
- $500,000 darts prizesPublished: 15 June, 2011
More than 14,000 soft-tip dart competitors from seven countries converged on Las Vegas for nine days in early May for the National Dart Association’s (NDA) annual Team Dart international tournament. This year’s event awarded more than $500,000 in prize money.
- More obstacles for Illinois VLTsPublished: 15 June, 2011
Once again, the 2009 Illinois Video Gaming Act (VGA) is facing legal problems. To help reduce budget deficits, the VGA legalised operator-run video lottery terminals (VLTs) as part of a more general bill. The Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association (ICMOA), like most state associations, has supported operator-involved VLT legislation since the 1980s.
- South Dakota OKPublished: 15 June, 2011
On 10 May, the South Dakota Legislature’s rules review committee unanimously authorised the state lottery commission to operate slot-style games on video lottery terminals (VLTs) statewide.
- Win some, lose somePublished: 15 June, 2011
Operators of video lottery terminals in West Virginia are enjoying some good news while also worrying about some bad news. The state and local economies have rebounded a bit, motivating customers to play more often. Even winter numbers improved over 2010 revenues.
- More raids in AlabamaPublished: 13 May, 2011
The quiet did not last long in Alabama. Only two months after Robert Bentley was sworn in as the new governor in January, trouble resurfaced on the bingo front.
After succeeding former governor Bob Riley, Bentley disbanded Riley’s task force of armed state troopers who had shut down bingo halls statewide. Bentley stated that he wanted a court decision on the matter.
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